October 28, 2011

Tax man stops traffic

Tax man stops traffic
By Jerry W. Kram

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” is an old saying that got some sharper teeth for truck and pickup drivers traveling on N.D. Highway 23.
The North Dakota Tax Department Motor Fuels Division held a spot check for diesel powered vehicles by the New Town Civic Center on Oct. 13. Drivers were pulled over and the fuel in their vehicles’ tanks were checked for the telltale presence of red dye. The drivers who were caught learned an expensive lesson, said Kevin Schatz, supervisor of the Motor Fuels Tax for the State of North Dakota.
“We’re checking for trucks and pickups using offroad fuel,” Schatz said. “We pull them over and take a sample out of their tanks and let them go down the road again.”
Diesel fuel is taxed at 23 cents per gallon in North Dakota. That money goes to help maintain the state’s roads and highways. The federal fuel tax is 24.4 cents a gallon. There is a tax exemption for fuel that is used in vehicles intended primarily for off road use, such as farm equipment like tractors and construction equipment. To keep taxed fuel and tax exempt fuel separate, a red dye is added to fuel that will be used for tax exempt purposes. Using that fuel in a regular vehicle amounts to tax evasion.
 


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